Toronto Raptors: Three takeaways from disappointing loss to Magic

Toronto Raptors - Jeremy Lin (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Jeremy Lin (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic came to town and ended the Toronto Raptors seven-game winning streak. What did we learn from the game, though?

High off of their dramatic victory versus DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs, the Toronto Raptors moved their attention to the Orlando Magic on Sunday afternoon.

Kawhi Leonard was once again unavailable due to load management, a wise decision considering the unimportance of the game itself. The Raptors were 13-3 without Leonard heading into the game, so there was no doubt the team could perform without him.

OG Anunoby stepped into the starting line-up in place of Leonard and Marc Gasol earned his first start as a Raptor too, due to the match-up against Nikola Vucevic.

Gasol was getting involved early on, receiving frequent touches at the elbow and rebounding the ball well. The Raptors weren’t shooting well, though, and found themselves down 15-8 after a 13-2 run for the Magic.

The Magic opened up the lead to 10 points at the end of the first quarter, both teams were accountable for shooting poorly from the floor, the Raptors were 6-22 from the field and 1-5 from three. Terrence Ross appeared late in the first to drain a three-pointer with a hand in his face, just to rub dirt into an ugly first quarter.

Long rebounds were killing the Raptors in the second quarter, Evan Fournier missed a three-pointer before a long rebound from Jerian Grant offered him another bite of the cherry. Before the Raptors knew it, they were down by 12, the largest lead of the game.

Kyle Lowry pulled the Raptors to within nine points, a nice three-pointer from a Norman Powell hand-off above the break on the left side of the court. Lowry went coast-to-coast and finished a nice lay-up at the rim to continue his aggressive run and keep the Raptors within shouting distance of Orlando.

Back-to-back threes from new arrival Jodie Meeks brought the Raptors to within one point before the ghost of Terrence Ross struck again with another three, it was an improved offensive performance in the second but Orlando was still making their shots.

A nice ball-fake into a three from OG Anunoby got the Raptors going in the second half, but a three from Vucevic negated the cut in the deficit immediately. Lowry cut the lead to five with a deep three coming off of a screen, the Raptors and Magic were draining threes like there a shortage of them.

Marc Gasol added his name to the long list of players who had made three-pointers in the game and followed it up with a nice two-man game with Lowry which ended with an off-balance hook shot.

Things began to slow down at the end of the third, the scoring slowed down a little and buckets became more of a premium feature in the game, a 6-0 run from the Magic stretched their lead out to nine points.

Terrence Ross was really heating up in the fourth quarter, knocking down tough shot after tough shot to push the Magic even further ahead. That was shortly followed by Nick Nurse testing out a frontcourt duo of Ibaka and Gasol, which had glaring issues.

Orlando did not hesitate from three in the fourth quarter and shot 38-percent from beyond in the game. The Raptors came unstuck against a tough Magic team once again, but it’s only February, right?

Anyway, here are our takeaways from the game.

1. It’s about time Marc Gasol started

Marc Gasol finally linked up with the starting line-up from the word go, the match-up with Nikola Vucevic was far more suited to his style of play as opposed to Serge Ibaka.

Admittedly, Gasol struggled to contain Vucevic defensively but was able to make a mark on the offensive end of the floor. Gasol had 16 points on 6-13 shooting, along with five rebounds and five assists. The two-man game he and Kyle Lowry have built up early on since his arrival has been a fun element of what we could see further down the line. Just feed him the ball and cut. Simple.

Gasol should be the starter moving forward unless Nurse plans on keeping the five spot fluid. Which is fine, but just play Marc more.

2. Don’t change, Terrence Ross

The Ghost of Terrence Ross came back to Toronto to haunt the Raptors once again.

Ross had a game-high 28 points on 9-21 shooting. It wasn’t the most efficient display in the world from Ross but he gets his moniker from being a human microwave as opposed to an advanced stat friendly scorer.

It’s a contract year for T-Ross and someone is going to pay him the big bucks. He made another statement last night, scoring in a variety of ways including some stupidly tough shots. It’s just a darn shame the Raptors couldn’t find a way to bring him back this season.

Just don’t hurt us in the playoffs, Terry.

3. Jodie Meeks did some stuff

10-year vet and owner of a new 10-day contract, Jodie Meeks made his debut for the Raptors on Sunday afternoon.

Sheesh, what a start. Meeks sparked the Raptors into life in the second quarter with 10 points on 4-5 shooting. A blend of three-point shooting and cutting to the rim for Marc Gasol on a lay-up got the business done for Meeks and if he keeps that up, he might find himself with a spot on the roster until the end of the season.

And then it turned out that Jodie Meeks might actually be, just Jodie Meeks. Don’t forget that second quarter though.

Next. How Marc Gasol Compares to Opponents in the East. dark

Make sure to check out our takeaways after each game here at